Sun Temple Food Recipes

  • Breadfruit and Coconut Soup Recipe

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    My granny came to St. Lucia from St. Vincent around the turn of the last century to be governess to the governor’s children. I’ve told you this before, but what I neglected to mention was that the Nairn (paternal grandmother’s Scottish family) family home was located very near to the botanical gardens in St. Vincent which are still lovely and worth a visit. The significance of this little snippet is that the first breadfruit tree to make it to the Caribbean from Polynesia (remember Captain Cook and The Mutiny On The Bounty?) was planted there and they claim it is still alive…Not sure it can be the same tree, but I won’t argue as its a lovely romantic idea. Breadfruit was brought to the Caribbean as a cheap food source for the slaves who worked the sugar plantations. Sad provenance but a culinary treasure now.

    The other really cool thing about breadfruit is that it is a composite fruit. Do you see all the little octagonal looking sections on the surface of the skin in the photo below? Each one of those represents a flower which must be fertilised in order for this amazing fruit to form. This breadfruit in particular is cool because Rosie picked it for me from her own tree as I now have left the house where the large breadfruit tree grew in the back yard.

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    When I was about 12 or 13, I was friends with the 2 daughters of the then Barclays bank manger, who lived in a grand house on a hill overlooking Castries. They would arrive in a flurry every school holiday from their (what I assumed to be glam) boarding school in the UK. Their mum is Trinidadian and understood the need for teenagers to have a fete, so for at least 3 years on the trot she hosted Old Year’s Night for the teenagers in the roomy space under the house amid decorated pillars and loud music. I’m telling you about them because they had a Guyanese cook who moved with them wherever they went. She used to make a dish called “Metagee” which I LOVED! A significant ingredient was breadfruit and me with my fastness, at about 13 asked her if she would come and teach me how to make it at my house. She came, and that lesson was a big inspiration for this soup which lies somewhere between Metagee, Trinidadian Sancoche, and brand new Sun Temple……

    Breadfruit & Coconut Soup

    Serves 6 (or 8 as a starter)

    1 kg (2.2 lbs) raw breadfruit cut into chunks

    240g (8 oz) raw pumpkin cut into chunks

    2 tbsp coconut oil

    2 onions roughly chopped

    2 cloves garlic pressed

    1 green chilli finely chopped

    2 seasoning peppers finely chopped

    1 c St. Lucian local celery (use just the celery leaves in UK)

    1 tbsp chopped broad leaf thyme

    125g salt fish (soaked, most salt removed and rehydrated)

    400ml (15 oz) coconut milk

    enough water to make it into a soup (I used about 1 L, 35 oz)

    salt and pepper

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    The photo above shows rehydrated salted cod with most of its preserving salt removed. This used to be “poor man’s food” when I was a child. It certainly isn’t anymore and adds a rich, rounded taste to many dishes which make your taste buds sing Caribbean songs once it is in your mouth. I soak it in lots of water which I change about 3 or 4 times to remove the salt. How often you do this will depend upon the salt fish you get. Its always better to err on the side of taking too much out with salt fish as there’s nothing worse than to have spent time and energy preparing a lovely meal only to find that your “kissing tackle” is puckered from too much salt.

    The photo below is of local celery. I’ve added it because it looks quite different to the fat celery sticks seen as part of a salad in colder climes. This celery packs a taste punch and is often used as a “seasoning.”

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    Soften the onions in the heated coconut oil and then progressively add all the ingredients, adding the coconut milk last. When the breadfruit is soft, turn off the heat and using a potato masher (or whatever other tool you fancy), mash a section, and only that section of the pot of soup. What you’re aiming for is a thickened soup base but with yummy chunks left for interest.

    Depending on how vigorous you were with your soaking and rinsing of the salt fish, you may need to salt your soup a little bit.

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    I have saved a bowlful for Stephanie as she is the breadfruit monster in our family.

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10 comments on “
  1. cheryl renwick says:

    you go Germaine so proud of you

  2. Not Bread bread… Hey Germaine, I’ve just tried to make your “not bread loaf”, and have had serious issues with it. Made the dough no problem, left it rest overnight as per the suggestion, and cooked it for 30 mins at 180 degrees F.
    It is not even warm on the base off the pan, far less for getting it out to turn it upside down. Is the baking temp. incorrect in the recipe? Is it degrees F or C?
    Is 30 mins and then another 30 mins correct?
    It’s going in the bin for sure, so I have just upped the temp to 375 to see if it will actually bake or not… What did I do wrong? Claudette

    • Germaine says:

      Sorry Claudette. I have just looked and realised that I omitted to put the F/C for the temp. Is it indeed Celsius. I’ve updated it now. If you have a silicone loaf pan you could leave it in there for the whole hour without tipping out onto a baking sheet. So….you did nothing wrong. It was just unclear directions.

  3. Marijke says:

    Germaine, we have met you last thursday afternoon at your home with David.

    Thank you for sharing your family home with us; the deep warmth you do share with your family was surely and strongly felt…

    The picture of you as a child is darling; you were a happy kid in a happy, loving environment, and because of your loving parents you are still beaming this happiness out today…

    You are connected with Mother Earth and you appreciate the food she provides for you…in turn she has given you the opportunity to be creative and sustain your temple with healthy and delicious food….
    You are an inspiration for all of us and thank you so wonderfully for sharing all these delicious recipes with us…
    It is a delight to see and above all a joy to taste them…

    • Germaine says:

      Thank you so much for all your kind words Marijke. It was a pleasure to meet you and your husband and to show off my family home. I wish you had seen it under a more calm situation.

  4. Mae says:

    I just cooked my cauliflower mash! Huge success. Thanks to you I’m learning to cook.

  5. Pancho says:

    Nice site G! A crucial part of becoming food independent is getting people to enjoy cooking locally grown food and making it TASTE GOOD. This is a good way to do just that. Keep the information coming.

    • Germaine says:

      Thanks so much Pancho! We must talk and get this word spread! We have such a wealth of indigenous raw materials. I’m loving this journey.

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